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TODAY’S STORY
29 Jun
,
2022

Minimum Viable Creativity

Observation:

The privilege to be able to create has moved downstream, from the creative elites to the masses. We now have tech tools that help everyone participate in the act of creation.

Making cinema 👉 Making Youtube videos 👉  Making TikTok videos and Instagram Reels


Writing books 👉  Publishing blogs 👉  Writing newsletters 👉  Writing LinkedIn posts and Twitter Threads


Film photography 👉  DSLR Photography 👉  Smartphone camera photography for Instagram and other social media


Painting on a canvas 👉  Creating Digital Art on Photoshop 👉  Using Canva???

Creating music with musical instruments 👉  Creating electronic music from samples 👉  ???


Giving speeches in the townsquare 👉  Hosting a radio show 👉  Running a podcast 👉  Hosting a Clubhouse room or Twitter space

You get the point.

Second-order effects:

1. Content and art is getting increasingly easier to create. The effect is that there is too much content and not enough craft. Just because you can create something easily using no-code tools, doesn't mean you should. Today, there are so many tools that make it cheap and easy to ship a product, that baseline applications have become a commodity. Most users can intuitively feel the cheapness of the average product today, and their app/content fatigue is at an all-time high.

Notion is one startup that understood the importance of creating a Minimum Lovable Product, and not simply a Minimum Viable one. They moved their team away from Silicon Valley to Japan and spent a year obsessing over their product before launching their v1. This led them to a highly differentiated product that people are obsessed with and creates word-of-mouth for them. They understood that getting lost in the noise was highly probable, and hence chose a much higher quality bar for their MVP than most founders do today.

2. Attention spans are decreasing significantly, as the focus and effort needed to read or write a great book is orders of magnitude higher than reading or writing a Twitter thread. Same goes for the skill and resources needed to produce a movie versus an Instagram Reel.

3. When everyone uses the same format and strategy to guide their creative output, it's more competitive and less effective. Less of an art, and more of a race to see who can go through all the steps fast and consistently. Quantity over quality. Treating content as a mass-produced commodity more than a craft.

4. Lower barriers to entry to create via tech tools and software means increasingly fewer people opting for developing building skills in the offline world that are just as important. It's hard to find a really skilled carpenter today versus 50 years ago. Everyone is flocking to the place where it's easiest to get started but it's the easiest to plateau out in terms of creativity as well — the internet.

5. More youngsters dropping out of college to become creators and coming back to upskill themselves after they've plateaued in a few years. You can directly start coding without having read any textbooks, but you will soon hit a wall, moving beyond which will require you to study computer science textbooks. The same goes for a lot of other domains.

Will these folks be necessarily going back to college? Maybe. Maybe not. But they will definitely choose to upskill themselves in some way. Because after a point, you can't progress without understanding the fundamentals. There's only so much you can do with pre-built libraries and no-code tools.

6. Consequently, a lot of creators who started with Minimum Viable creation strategies will move upstream — towards creating more traditional forms of content and products that may not scale well, but reflect individuality and craft. The cycle will turn.

Democratizing creativity is great, but it comes with its downsides too.

Nevertheless, it is a great mental model and startup idea generator. What is a domain where barriers to building and creativity can be reduced? What would the newer breed of products in that domain look like?

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